Friday, July 27, 2012

Review: Superman Family Adventures #3

Let's take a look at the super-titles right now. Supergirl continues to find the right mix of heroism and alienation, action sequences and character scenes. Superman is something of a mess, a seemingly rudderless book. Action is a high concept super-hero comic with a fast pace but isn't the quintessential Superman book and Morrison is leaving. Superboy seems to be playing the 'black sheep of the family' role with a main character who 'might be the bad guy.'

With all that uncertainty and angst and offbeat characterization, where can a Superman fan look for a breath of fresh air? The answer is Superman Family Adventures. And the latest issue, Superman Family Adventures #3, continued to trend of making me smile and reminding me that comics should be fun.

Much like Tiny Titans, the prior book by creative team of Art Baltazar and Franco, Superman Family Adventures is the right mix of all ages adventures with the right sprinkling of older continuity for the older readers as well as some references to current continuity.

I wonder how many older readers like me use the Baltazar/Franco books as a gateway to comics, using it to talk about characters and older stories.

So let's look at the fun!

The book starts with Jimmy telling his pals from high school that not only does he know Superman but he has a special signal watch to call Superman in an emergency.

As I thought, Jimmy is starting to be suspicious that Cloe is actually Supergirl. I hope this 'plotline' continues in the book maybe mirroring some of the zany antics Lois did in the Silver Age to prove Clark was Superman?

This being Metropolis, all sorts of crazy threats all seem to converge on the city at once. Alien invasion, 'giant pointy-headed alien monster', and a 'giant slimy six-eyed alien monster with tentacles' all descend on the city. And each time Jimmy hits the signal watch, one of the Super-Pets arrive to help out. You know me, I can't get enough Streaky. Add Comet and Krypto and I am thrilled.

I also liked some subtle nuances in this scene. The high school bully in the piece is wearing a villain's colors - a purple and green hoodie.

And Beppo comes about as close as you can get to saying 'Eep Opp Ork Ah Ah'. You know that means 'I love you!'

Turns out the signal watch Jimmy got was the super-pet one. Superman gives the right one to Jimmy.

And it looks like Jimmy might be Mr. Action in this book too. The girls tease him about wanting a watch to call him. And it looks like Cloe might be crushing on him. Interesting little love triangle there is Jimmy likes Kara, Cloe like Jimmy, and Jimmy thinks Cloe is Kara.

Anyways, lots of fun in this main story with some zany city threats being dispatched by super-pet super-breath.

Then we get a short of Krypto trying to train Fluffy to use his powers in a controlled way.

And now we learn why Superman doesn't have red trunks in the DCnU. Krypto burned his butt practicing his heat vision.

Funny quips about the current DC continuity are always appreciated by this team - like in Tiny Titans when Kid Flash sharpened his pencil to a Flashpoint, Cyborg sported new shoes for his reboot, or exams leading to a Finals crisis. Fantastic!

In the last story, Clark has to answer some tough question by Lois,wondering why he and Superman are never seen together.

She offers to buy Clark cotton candy to which he responds how much he likes pink. Of course, in the Donner movie Superman proves he has x-ray vision by telling Lois that she is wearing pink underwear and then that he 'likes pink, very much.' Only old timers would see how that particular line would make Lois more suspicious. In the comic she simply states that 'Superman says that'.

But this is what 'all ages' comics should be ... something that appeals to All Ages!

It makes Clark activate 'Operation Pink' in which Superboy and Supergirl are to send a Superman robot to Metropolis so that Clark and Superman can be seen at the same time. The younger cousins mean well but mess up sending 2 Supermen and then dozens of Clarks to Metropolis. I like how Lois decides to just roll with it. I mean in a town where aliens and monsters attack near daily, a bunch of Clarks is actually small potatoes.

The freshly squeezed orange juice line also harkens back to the Donner films.

So nothing to complain about here. It is a fun comic and it portrays an accepted and heroic Superman who is a member of a loving family. It is here that I go for a classic and refreshing take on Superman and his supporting cast.

Overall grade: A

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